A Monash University study on the concept of egg freezing as an employee benefit revealed that nearly half of the 656 Victorian women surveyed believed it would be appropriate for employers to offer it.
However, while some participants saw the potential for employer-sponsored egg freezing to increase and support women’s reproductive and career choices, others expressed concern that it could pressure women to delay childbearing, reinforce job-versus-family segregation and exacerbate existing inequalities in access to Help. reproductive techniques.
The study was published in the journal Employer-Sponsored Egg Freezing: Carrots or Sticks? in the magazine. AJOB Experimental Bioethics This week it was co-authored by academics from Barron College of Medicine and Health.
Employer-sponsored egg freezing was introduced in the United States in 2014 via Silicon Valley giants Apple and Facebook, said lead author Molly Johnston of the College of the Arts’ Monash Center for Bioethics.
Since then, about one in five large US companies have followed the lead of Apple and Facebook and are now offering female employees financial support to access egg freezing, with expectations Australia could follow suit.
“The study aimed to explore women’s attitudes toward employer-sponsored egg freezing to verify whether they believe that egg freezing as an employee benefit is an appropriate proposition,” said Ms. Johnston.
“We found that while some women identified the risks of employer-sponsored egg freezing, many would see it as acceptable if offered under certain conditions—largely protecting their reproductive freedoms and guarantees that it is offered alongside other career-building family-friendly benefits and family.”
Women aged 18 to 60 who resided in Victoria were invited to complete an online CT scan to investigate opinions regarding egg freezing.
The survey was completed by 656 women with an average age of 28, with 27 percent being single and about half either living with a partner or married.
Three-quarters of the respondents were childless.
Among respondents, 27 percent said it would be inappropriate for employers to offer sponsored egg freezing, and nearly a third (31 percent) are unsure.
There was less support for the idea among the older participants and those working part-time.
Ultimately, egg freezing is an expensive procedure that is only partially subsidized by Medicare, which means that many women may not be able to access the procedure because they cannot afford the costs or they freeze their eggs at an older age when They can afford the procedure, but it is less effective and the chances of a live birth are significantly reduced.”
Employee-sponsored egg freezing can empower young female employees who may not be ready to have a child, but who would appreciate the opportunity to do so later in life, and gain access to fertility preservation.
“Egg freezing methods have developed greatly in recent times and the process is considered a safe option for women. With the benefits of employer sponsorship, there is an opportunity to help women overcome financial barriers, increase their reproductive options and reduce the pressure women are on to choose between getting a job and having children.” This may also help women reach egg freezing at an age when the procedure is most effective, increasing the chances of a future pregnancy if they need the frozen eggs.
“It can be seen as a win-win for all employers and employees.”
Other advocates of employer-sponsored egg freezing say it’s a progressive step toward achieving gender equality in the workplace.
Conversely, some study participants argued that employers’ financial involvement in a woman’s reproductive life could undermine reproductive autonomy by putting pressure on female employees to delay childbearing.
“Some have felt that there should be less focus on preserving fertility and more support for women to have children when they feel ready,” Ms Johnston said.
“Participants commented that companies with family-friendly policies and flexible work arrangements would eliminate the need for delayed childbearing, or raise concerns that women could be penalized in their career paths if they do not use technology.”
Overall, Ms Johnston and her co-authors suggested that any employer-sponsored egg-freezing policy adopted in Australia should promote informed and voluntary decision-making.
“Women need to understand the benefits, risks, and limitations of egg freezing, feel no pressure to accept the offer, and if they do, it will have no negative impact on, and be accompanied by, family-friendly work policies,” she said.
“As with the provision of other assisted reproductive technologies, there may be a role for the state to protect the circumstances in which employer-sponsored egg freezing is provided.”
Family physicians are important in advising young women about egg freezing for future fertility
Molly Johnston et al., Employer-sponsored Egg Freezing: Carrot or Stick?, AJOB Empirical Bioethics (2021). DOI: 10.1080 / 23294515.2021.1941413
Presented by Monash University
the quote: Women in Australia support the idea of egg freezing as an employee benefit (2021, July 21) Retrieved on July 24, 2021 from https://phys.org/news/2021-07-women-australia-idea-egg-employee.html
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